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Erna Helena Ania.

Photographs by Tomasz Laczny.
BLOW UP PRESS, Poland, 2021. In English. 102 pp., 92 illustrations, 6x8¾".



Publisher's Description

The true story of a mother's love for her daughter, inscribed in the history of the end of the World War II and its aftermath, told by a grandson, in whose life its elements echo.

The end of the WWII. Polish-German borderland. A young German woman falls in love with a Polish man. Back then, this kind of relationship between enemies was prohibited: both of them could be killed, if it was discovered. Moreover, she becomes pregnant and has to hide her pregnancy. After the war, she is imprisoned in a camp for Germans where she gives birth to the author’s mother but, because of her poor condition, she is not able to raise her own child and has to give her away. 

The European borders were changed after WWII by the decision of a few key political figures and almost all Germans were expelled. The woman, hoping to be reunited with her daughter, decided to stay but had to gain Polish nationality. For her, as an ex-German, life in Poland was extremely difficult. She lived in the shadow of guilt and of the memories of what happened in Poland during WWII. All her family was expelled and it took many years for her to find her daughter together again.

Tomasz Laczny: “The story of my grandmother is a story about losing identity, family, and country in the face of traumatic historic events. It represents the situation of many people and nations finding themselves struggling with finding their own identity after the war in the shadow of Nazism.Ironically, the story of my grandmother unfolds some similarities with my own. Living abroad for many years I experienced disconnection and isolation and struggled with finding my new identity. Also, there is the story of the absence of my daughter who I haven't seen for almost 3 years now.”


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